This question has appeared again. Do I lift more or do I run more to get fitter?
For those who know me, you’re probably thinking Dan is going to talk about running for sure, but, lifting weights is what I am going to talk about not running. The reasons why I think lifting weights are important is in the post.
It is always going to come down to your goal. You might need to increase your runs and/or needing to lift weights more depending on your goal. Regardless of what the goal is though, we should always include some form of resistance training / weights training in our exercise programming. Most of these goals, that we want to talk about, are going to need a stronger engine capacity. And that is what the aim of weights training is, becoming stronger. It is not to gain massive muscles, rather it is about getting out there and making those engines, the muscles, more effective in moving blood around our body. That is why we want to keep weight training in all of our programming.
To lift weights does not mean that after I have done one round and one repetition, I am going to be instantly be stronger the next day. It is a longer & constant approach to your exercise plan. Consistency is key here. If you are lifting consistently three to four times a week, you are going to start building strength. Slowly, but you are be building strength. Building strength for future activities, whatever they happen to be.
Mixed workouts, incorporate cardio training
The benefit of doing weights over a long period of time, is the strength that you’ve built does take a little bit longer to ‘lose’ compared to cardio training. Cardio training only takes a couple of weeks to feel an improvement. Likewise, it only takes a couple of weeks to really “not feel so fit” inside your workout. Trying to keep resistance training consistent in your exercise plan, opens the opportunity to being able to include cardio into these workouts. With 2-4 workouts a week centred around building strength and getting a toned body, leave 1-2 workouts for conditioning training. You could go for a little run. You might get down and do some Mt climbers at a high pace. This acts as a recovery method or a time filler while you give your muscles a chance to rest from lifting the weights.
More resistance than cardio
Ideally, if you include three or five times a week of strength training / resistance training, your body will be better off in the long run. The pay off comes more so in our older years. The years when our bone density has already been decreasing.
Now is the time to be lifting, to maintain strength and be more comfortable in our way of living later on.
The last point I want to talk about with regards to weights training, is making sure you have some variety. You might be exercising three to five times a week. Over time you’ll discover it can get boring if it is the same or similar type of exercise each time you train. It doesn’t matter if it is upper body to lower body, or front focused muscles and then back focus muscles being worked. If it is the same type of workout, it will inevitably become familiar & boring to continue with. So mix it up! It can be mixed in with cardio training, other forms of movement (ie kayaking) or it can be mixed in with other types of tools. For example, use a fit ball, a resistance band, a TRX strap, step-ups. Any of these tools will help you challenge your body. This is ultimately going to allow you to grow a little bit more & stay engaged to continue resistance training.
Even if you do choose to run more, which I get it, make sure you include some weights training inside that week. Because your training regime will really benefit from it, along with your health in the long term.